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Mongolian state weakness, foreign policy, and dependency on the People’s Republic of China

Reeves, Jeffrey (2010) Mongolian state weakness, foreign policy, and dependency on the People’s Republic of China. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis draws on a synthesis of foreign policy analysis (FPA) and constructivism in order to demonstrate how post Cold War Mongolia’s relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) can be analysed through a multisectoral approach to explain the dilemmas that a weak state faces when conducting its relations with a much more powerful neighbour. It proposes that the dissonance between Mongolia’s social identity and its structures of governance is the basis for the Mongolian state’s weakness and that such weakness makes growing economic dependency on the PRC more difficult to manage. Moreover, the resulting combination of economic dependency and state weakness seriously limits the government’s ability to maintain an effective broader foreign policy. The dissertation draws on government texts, academic and media articles, and interviews in Mandarin Chinese, Mongolian, and English. The thesis looks in detail at the nature of Mongolian identity politics by focusing on identity development over la longue durée. It then demonstrates how the international community failed to take account of the dynamics of Mongolian identity politics when it came to assisting the Mongolian government with the country’s post Cold War transition from communism. This led to an undue reliance on what can be termed ‘Washington Consensus’ type political and economic reforms that considerably added to the weakness of the state. The thesis then focuses on Mongolia’s economic relations with the PRC to show how such state weakness has resulted in a relationship of growing dependency. Building on economic dependency theory, the thesis then further examines the implications of Mongolia-Sino relations from environmental, societal, and military perspectives. In conclusion, the dissertation argues that the division between the Mongolian state and society has been exacerbated by the country’s adherence to capitalism and democracy in ways that have created the potential for domestic instability by increasing the depth and breadth of economic dependence on the PRC. This imposes severe constraints on foreign policy options but has also demanded some imaginative innovations that give interesting insights into the measures a vulnerable state can take to maximise its international presence. Ultimately, however, the disjuncture between social identity and the state acts as a constraining factor on such initiatives in the case of Mongolia.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 Jeffrey Reeves
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Hughes, Christopher R.

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